Why I joined @Livongo Health

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Last Thursday was my last day at Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Friday May 1, was my first day with Livongo Health, a Digital Health start-up led by Glen Tullman, aimed at reinventing the way we manage chronic conditions (starting with diabetes) through technology, real-time information and human support to make life easier for people with chronic conditions. There, I am honored to serve as Senior Vice President, Member Experience.

Since I joined Livongo, I’ve been drinking from the proverbial firehose! And I’ve been loving it. Livongo has a lot of the qualities that I was hoping for in this next chapter in my life: being able to stay in diabetes where so much needs to be done; having peers from whom I can learn so much and with whom I can partner to do great things for the community; and doing all of this in a very nimble start-up environment.

The seven years I spent at the helm of Diabetes Hands Foundation gave me a humbling sense of how challenging diabetes can be, and how CRITICAL it is that the person living with it (and their loved ones) remain at the center of it, if we are to have any chance to tackling this epidemic.

Also, diabetes is a truly multi-dimensional problem and Livongo is aware of this. To help tackle it, Glen has put together an incredibly talented group of people! Just as important as hiring great people it is to recognize areas where you need to partner with others to bring the best member experience (and, consequently, the best possible outcomes). I am excited to see Livongo do this as well in areas where it makes more sense to partner than to go at it alone.

I can see the impact that the Livongo platform has in myself. I am testing more often than before (unlimited test strips is a pretty compelling value); and my time in range has improved too (not surprising, considering my exchanges with the Livongo CDEs have been the most time I recall having spent with a diabetes educator discussing MY diabetes in a very long time). And it’s all included within the Livongo program!

I want everyone with diabetes to enjoy these same benefits, and all the things that the platform will continue to evolve to offer.

Image credit: Mike Lawson @ Diabetes Hands Foundation

My last day at @DiabetesHF #memories

January 15, 2015, I shared the news about my stepping down from my role as President of the Diabetes Hands Foundation after having co-founded the organization back in 2008 with my wife, and having shared with my friends and colleagues some amazing times working towards a world where people touched by diabetes do not feel alone.

Since January, I have focused my time on two main things at DHF: (1) working with Melissa Lee, DHF’s new Interim Executive Director, to ensure a smooth hand-off (something I am happy to report, has been extremely successful)…

and (2) supporting the team led by our Head of Communities, Emily Coles, to bring TuDiabetes and EsTuDiabetes from Ning to Discourse, their new 2015 home. TuDiabetes has been migrated (though the team will continue to work, to smooth out the member experience over the course of the coming days and weeks), and EsTudiabetes will soon be migrated.

After seven years on the DHF journey (and eight since we first started TuDiabetes), today I can’t help but think back through some of the memories…

We’ve traveled places together…

Here’s our very first diabetes awareness campaign in 2007, “Word In Your Hand
(Not sure if you know that this is what brought the “Hands” part into the Diabetes Hands Foundation Name)

Here’s the Big Blue Test video we did with music from Capital Cities (before they were BIG!)

Bringing more voices of people with diabetes to FDA and to Congress…

Celebrating awards we received…

Making and keeping great friends…

Having silly moments…

And sad moments…

I am not going too far. Love you, guys!

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My mother’s #Alzheimers

Back in February 2015, a friend of mine in NY inspired me to blog about my experience with my mother’s Alzheimer’s Disease. So far, I had only blogged once about her condition since her diagnosis in 2001, three years ago, and tweeted about it here and there, during particularly difficult times.

My mother has Alzheimer’s Disease
She was “diagnosed” in 2011. Back in 2011, she was 81. Now she is 85, and you can guess: things haven’t gotten better.

She used to be a very go-getter type person, very independent. One day I dropped her off in church (she used to drive back then, but she wanted me to drive her). I told her I’d wait for her outside in one hour. An hour went by, and she wouldn’t come out… nearly 20 minutes after the hour, she called me from her apartment.

She had gotten a ride home with a fellow parishioner… she had all forgotten that I was going to pick her up. This event, combined with a couple of instances of her getting lost in the Berkeley traffic (those of you who’ve lived here know this to be a joke!) raised a red flag.

We brought her to a geriatric specialist who confirmed the “diagnosis”. I use double-quotes because, unlike things like diabetes, where you can test your fasting blood sugar and establishing nearly without doubt if someone has the condition or not, with Alzheimer’s, it is trickier. As the Alzheimer’s Association would say:

There is no single test that can show whether a person has Alzheimer’s.

Of the 10 early signs of Alzheimer’s, back in 2011 my mom had 6. She now has 7.

In the coming months and years (however long she has left with us), I will share bits and pieces of my mom’s Alzheimer’s story, using the alzheimers tag in this blog.

For now, I leave you with a photo of her and her grandson (my son) that I took today.

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